Wednesday, 15 June 2016

A Rainy Evening With Small Engines...

Hi all. This afternoon I've been in the workshop having finally gotten round to doing a few bits and pieces with the small engines. The initial plan was to take one of them (probably "Achilles") to Ryton for the Third Wednesday members running night but this was always going to be touch and go with the state of the recent weather. Early indications suggested it may well be sunny but luckily I decided at around 3pm that I wouldn't go and would just stay in and polish the engines up, saving all of that horrid loading and unloading work. The two engines have had a fairly quiet year so far, with both having been steamed just twice. One factor of this is that every time we seem to plan a run...it rains! It was a good job I decided not to go out during the sunny period as this was the scene at just gone 5:30pm - it was throwing it down!...
"No Weather For Engines..."
Meanwhile, in the cosy and dry haven of the workshop it was time to finally put the Atlantic's cab back on. The 4-4-2 was steam tested last month and has since been waiting patiently for her chance. Having cleaned and polished the barrel, smokebox, splashers and cylinders, the back-head was buffed up with Peek. The manifold and fittings are fairly difficult to access properly with the cab on so I decided to polish it all up before it went back on. I also took out that pesky blower spindle and repacked it with some PTFE yarn, with the usual addition of a blob of cylinder oil of course. That blower has been burning my hand for long enough now and that repack should sort it. With the footplate now shipshape, the cab was put back into place and bolted on. Then followed the traditional session of producing as many expletives as possible whilst trying to refit the bolts which have to go neatly above the spring hanger on the back truck but also under the nicely lined valance of the running board! With all jobs done, the engine was looking somewhere near...
With the rain still bouncing down outside, the rewarding slurp of tea was most welcome. I like being in the workshop when its raining well, particularly when for once I made the right decision not to go out. A glorious heatwave would have been the usual result for putting my foot down! With the Maisie all cleaned up, it was time to turn to "Achilles". "Achilles" ran a few weeks ago at CMES, having last steamed in much colder weather on New Years Day at GEC. The engine just needs a good clean up now...
"Engines At Rest - Safe From The Rain"
I suppose in a way my two engines look a little fairground-ish in their often clean appearance but that's the way I've always liked to keep them where possible. If its not shining, its not going out. In fact, the very thought of even the dried rust being splashed about over the motion and the wheels puts me off on days like today! That's not saying that they don't get run either because anyone that knows me and knows "Achilles" will be aware that she's had the "chimney knocked off" on much more than one occasion doing some good, heavy work. I'm sure they'll both be out again before long. Below, I've included a video that resurfaced recently following the sad loss of the tank engine's builder Ken. Many will remember that the locomotive is older than me, having been finished in 1986/1987. As well as model engineering and music, Ken was also a keen photographer and made the film below in around 1990. It shows "Achilles" at work back then, in her old livery, at the former Stoneleigh Park track in Coventry. The track was CMES' previous home and the forerunner to what we now see at Ryton Pools. Its a lovely, nostalgic piece of film and well worth a look - a great tribute to Ken and his beloved engine. Please enjoy...

Cheers All, Sam

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